“Sidewalks of New York”


Known by its chorus: "East side, west side, all around the town, The tots sang Ring-a-Rosie, London Bridge is falling down...." The verses describe courting in New York, and wax nostalgic for the days when the singer was one of those doing the courting


For some inexplicable reason, this was Al Smith's 1928 presidential campaign song. - RBW

Well, Smith *was* the governor of New York. Of course, rubbing that in didn't endear him to the rest of the country, and anti-Catholic bigotry helped do him in. - PJS

Incidentally, the flip side of the Dalhart recording was "Al Smith for President." I don't know whether that's cause or effect. It's interesting to note that Herbert Hoover doesn't seem to have made any influence on oral tradition, but in addition to the Dalhart recording, Dave Macon sang an Al Smith song. - RBW

Same tune

  • East Side, West Side (Harvesting Song) (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 105)


  • Abner Burkhardt, "The Sidewalks of New York" (Champion 15279, 1927)
  • Vernon Dalhart, "The Sidewalks of New York" (Columbia 437-D, 1925; Columbia 15256-D, 1928 [as Al Craver])
  • George Gaskin, "Sidewalks of New York" (Berliner 0959, 1895)
  • Andrew Jenkins & Carson Robison, "Sidewalks of New York" (OKeh 45232, 1928)
  • Billy Jones, "The Sidewalks of New York" (Edison 51340, 1924)


  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 48, "Sidewalks of New York" (1 text)
  2. Gilbert, p. 257, "The Sidewalks of New York" (1 text)
  3. Fuld, pp. 499-500, "The Sidewalks of New York"
  5. BI, Gil257


Alternate titles: “East Side, West Side”
Author: Words: James W. Blake / Music: Charles B. Lawlor
Earliest date: 1894 (copyright)
Keywords: courting game children
Found in: US